The Internet is the great equalizer, and we now live in an age when that nerdy-looking young man cowering in the corner at social gatherings can then go home and become in the endlessness of cyberspace an evil monster preying on and terrorising the vulnerable; his revenge, as he sees it, on a society that has kicked him in the face once too often. Welcome to the world of 4Chan-inspired ‘RIP trolling,’ a subculture that has been much discussed in recent years in news and television media across the English-speaking world, but one which has not truly been explained. This book would like to remedy that, charting as it does a vigilante journey through the cyber abyss that also takes in the horrific paedophilia problem on Facebook, damning the social network for its failure to put an end to it and to the stalking and tormenting of bereaved people on its network.
As well as taking an unforgiving and sometimes very humorous gaze at just what kinds of morons, psychos, and clowns go online to try and transform themselves into dark lords of the Internet, the book also takes a look at how the grotesque subculture of mass, organised RIP trolling began, what life is like in the little online mental wards created by its practitioners, and how all of it – along with the rampant child pornography swapping and grooming of children which takes place on Facebook and other similar sites – could very easily be brought to an end through the cooperation of the social networks.
There are many trolls to be found in this book, but this is not a fairy story.
* The author cooperated extensively with BBC program makers in the making of two television documentaries on the problem of RIP trolling and cyberbullying on the web. The Panorama episode ‘Hunting the Internet Bullies,’ and the special one-off documentary ‘The Anti-Social Network’ were both shown in 2012.